What is interaction?
Technology has been about the creation, appropriation or implementation of tools to solve necessities or problems. Technologies are means to interact with different environments so we can achieve our specific goals. These technologies, from my point of view, appear from the result of interaction between humans and their environments. When the context creates a problem, need, or issue, we first realize there’s action needed to solve that situation. Then we think about the need and the possibilities form solving it. We then consider our available resources and decide which to rely upon. After that, we work into using the resources to create an object to satisfy our need. A somehow non-creative, but clear example, was how the stone was chosen by the early man (even chimps) to smash coconuts or other natural containers of food, so they could solve the problem of being hungry at the beach…
So I think interaction is in the core of everyday of living existence. The more you interact with your environment, the more “problems” arise, and the more creative you will have to be, so you can create or appropriate tools for addressing them. As Mister Chris Crawford says in his book on interactivity (The Art of Interactive Design: A Euphonious and Illuminating Guide to Building Successful Software) There are different degrees of interaction in reality. The intensity or amount of interaction depends on the complexity of the different agents that interact through the communicational process that is key to it.
Interaction is the engine of change. With out it, reality can be affected but in ways that there’s no serious change. From a humanistic point of view, there are several examples of human interaction giving way to unimagined creations. Ones that not even the brightest minds could ever achieve without it. When pizza became popular in America, each different country would create different versions of this delicious (once Italian) recipe. As globalization increases, so the amount of pizza choices you have at dominos pizza… Enough pizza for now! (I’ll come back after lunch for the next paragraph… )
So yes, pizza became more interesting in time (most Italians probably would never agree on this point) making our world a little more complex and fun. This applies to infinite aspects of reality (positive, negative an neutral) Another example of how human interaction gives way to more complex and interesting realities is language. It keeps changing and becoming more sophisticated, that way allowing us to be more precise in our daily communications.
Language is interesting. Is an ever evolving “communication software” that has a lot to do with how we interact and sometimes play with our context. The best example is having a reunion (pizza party) of people from different Latin American Spanish speaking countries. We will all speak “Spanish” but after a couple of pizza slices and verbal interaction, we will begin to realize how different meanings come from the same words. This causing short circuits in the communication process and this, provoking big time involuntary jokes. (Pico in Colombia = Kiss vs Pico in Chile = dick) and things like that…
I see life as a game. With rules and limitations (kind of like the Matrix movie). We have restrictions, boundaries, but also tools and resources. Limitations force us to think, to be creative. And the more we interact, the more experienced, skilled and smarter we will become. And the more fun we will have. When you talk to wise people, you understand the nature of their wisdom. It’s really a result of many interactions with the world, such as walls, barriers and difficulties. So as the result of interaction, they create solutions that sometimes look obvious, but are really complex.
Interaction has a lot of potential in many areas. I see interaction as a great tool for areas like education and arts among many others. Education works better when interaction is involved. Also when playing is used as a learning tool. Interaction is now a whole new world of possibilities for us.
Interaction is a very wide concept. This writing is just a way of brainstorming and moving around in my head to try to grasp it. It’s an attempt to interact with the interaction process, and to try to make sense, and also to start thinking beyond the usual cliches about it, and my own way of understanding it. Before reading Crawford’s mentioned writing, I was confused between participation and interaction concepts. I thought they were similar. That’s something that I’ll get into processing in my head.